PBS, LPB Chronicle Famed Latino Journalist’s Life And Death In New Documentary

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS will release on April 29th, a new documentary for those with any interest in the history of journalism.

Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle will be released on DVD Tuesday, April 29th. The documentary follows the life and mysterious death of pioneering journalist Ruben Salazar. It follows Salazar’s eventual transition from a mainstream reporter to key figure in and supporter of the Chicano movement of the late 1960s. After being killed by a police officer in 1970, Salazar instantly became a martyr for those in the Latino community. Ironically enough, many in the Latino community had lambasted Salazar for his reporting during his life. Even more intriguing is that the full details of his death have been very murky even roughly four decades later.

This new documentary presents Salazar’s life in an objective, unbiased manner through interviews with Salazar’s friends, former co-workers, and family members as well as through his own words collected through personal writings. It is presented in partnership with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB).

Latino Public Broadcasting Executive Director Sandie Viquez Pedlow discussed the release of this new documentary in a recent interview. Pedlow noted of Salazar that so little was known of him or his life until the release of this feature. She went on to note that it was through this story that audiences finally see just how important Salazar remains today as his is more than just one man’s story. It she stated in her interview, Salazar’s is a “very American story about the struggle between ethnic identity and assimilation.”

Joseph Tovares is the Senior VP for Diversity and Innovation at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). He also shared his thoughts on the Salazar’s cultural importance and the release of the new documentary. “Ruben Salazar’s importance in our nation’s history is underscored by the number of schools, scholarship programs and parks across the west and southwest that bear his name,” he said. “CPB support for this program, through our Diversity and Innovation Fund, reflects our commitment to giving voice to storytellers from all across the country and from a wide range of perspectives.”

Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle was directed by filmmaker Phillip Rodriquez, whose most documentary was Race 2012. That documentary aired on PBS on October 16th, 2012. It examined the 2012 presidential election through the angle of a quickly changing racial landscape. He also received the first annual United States Artists Broad Fellow Award in 2006. The award is made by United States Artists (USA) and honors the nation’s finest living artists. Along with all of his other accomplishments and awards, Rodriguez is also a visiting fellow at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle will be available Tuesday, April 29th on DVD for an SRP of $24.99. It can be pre-ordered now via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=32759016&cp=&kw=ruben+salazar&origkw=Ruben+Salazar&sr=1.

More information on this and other programs from PBS is available online at http://www.pbs.org and http://www.facebook.com/pbs. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Henry Ford An In-Depth Look At The Life of An American Auto Pioneer

Courtesy:  PBS/Liberty Mutual Insurance/Alfred P. Slaon Foundation/National Endowment For The Humanities/CPB/WGHB

Courtesy: PBS/Liberty Mutual Insurance/Alfred P. Slaon Foundation/National Endowment For The Humanities/CPB/WGHB

PBS’ documentary on auto pioneer Henry Ford is an interesting piece for anyone that has or has ever had any interest in the history not only of Ford but of the auto industry.  Its release was rather well timed what with the American auto industry trying to make a comeback after the troubles that the industry has had in recent years as a result of the economy.  While it is somewhat lengthy—it clocks in at two hours—it offers a glimpse of a man that likely few have ever known.  And it has something that will any car enthusiast will find interesting.  It offers an in-depth look at Ford’s life from his early childhood living on a farm to his later years.  Audiences will see Ford as a man who was driven throughout the better part of his life.  He wanted to be the best in the game both in business and even in racing.  Because of his drive (no pun intended), he was also a very shrewd businessman.  Audiences will be shocked to learn that as driven and respected as he was, Ford apparently started going downhill later in his life.  He began to show anti-Semitic leanings.  And his family life started to take a hit, too as he got older.

The story told through this documentary is enlightening for anyone that has any interest in the history of America’s very first automobile industry.  It even includes an item of interest for fans of auto racing, too.  As noted early in the documentary, Ford actually raced his car in the nation’s very first auto race in Michigan.  It notes that he won that race in a come-from-behind win after the car of one of his competitors broke down.  From there, he would go on to a handful of other wins, and would later incorporate Ford Motor Company.  This goes back somewhat to the recent discussions in NASCAR centered on the new “Gen 6” car as it was made to look like street cars so as to encourage buyers to go out and buy cars on Monday that win races on Sundays.

Ford’s life and his influence on America and its economy is eye opening in so many ways as seen through this program.  Making it even more interesting is the inclusion of actual photos and video of Ford’s life and accomplishments.  They are excellent visual aids that help to move the story along over the course of its two-hour run time.  Audiences get to see firsthand, footage of the workers on what would become the country’s first assembly line and pictures of the nation’s very first race.  Also included are pictures of the very first two-seater created by Ford (essentially the country’s very first sport coupe).  The pictures and footage of Ford later in his life are just as interesting to see as those of the empire that this once great man had created early in his life.  The images and footage together fit very well with the story told by various academics to make a story that anyone with an interest in the auto industry will enjoy.

From the garages of America’s auto enthusiasts, to the garages of NASCAR, and from the assembly lines to conference rooms of today’s auto industry, Henry Ford will interest anyone who has anything to do with cars.  Because of its history, it’s a tool that could even be used in the classroom for anyone studying auto technology or related courses at colleges and tech schools across the nation.  It is available now to order online.  It can be ordered direct via the PBS online store, http://www.shoppbs.org.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Cold Warriors More About Wolves Than Buffalo

Courtesy:  PBS/Canon/CPB/WNET Thirteen

Courtesy: PBS/Canon/CPB/WNET Thirteen

PBS’ latest documentary from its Nature series is exactly what audiences would expect from the series.  Cold Warriors: Wolves and Buffalo is a beautifully shot work that takes audiences into the Canadian wilds that while it’s somewhat unbalanced in its content, is still worth viewing at least once.  The title of the latest entry in PBS’ Nature series is misleading, considering that the bulk of the feature is spent not so much on the relationship between buffalo and wolves, but on the wolves’ social and hunting habits.  In the feature’s defense, it can be said that what saves it is its stunning cinematography and equally beautiful backdrops as well as the subtle notes of the wolves’ habits.  The program was filmed in the Wood Buffalo National Park.  The aerial shots of the park are stunning to say the least.  Audiences get glimpses of the park both during its winter months, covered in snow, and in its warmer months.  Seeing the buffalo herds and the wolf pack moving along the terrain is especially interesting from the air in that audiences will note the tracks in the ground.  They may not be, but they come across as the same tracks that both followed in the snow.  Equally interesting to note is that while some of the wolves will help divide and conquer a herd, others stick close together, even travelling in a line both when hunting and simply travelling.

The backdrops and cinematography incorporated into Cold Warriors are both impressive.  They carry the roughly hour long feature on their backs.  Thanks to these aspects, the feature’s lesser aspects are made more bearable.  The program’s title leads one to believe that its focus is on the seeming relationship between the two groups.  But documentarian Jeff Turner openly spends more time on what he dubs the “Delta Pack” of wolves that he is tracking than on the buffalo, thus somewhat negating any concept of a relationship between the two groups of animals.  The manner in which the two groups are portrayed makes the buffalo come across as little more than prey for the wolves.  He doesn’t really spend any time focusing on the social habits of the buffalo.  And while Turner makes note of man’s potential impact on both groups early in the program, audiences don’t even get any of this discussion until late in the feature’s final minutes.   Given, the packaging for this feature does note that the focus would be on the wolves.  But that being the case, the feature’s title becomes rather misleading.  For all of this, it does still have its merits.

Cold Warriors is not the best of PBS’ Nature series.  Though, it is worth at least one watch.  As already noted, the cinematography and setting are both beautiful and stunning.  They do so much to move the special along.  They are just part of what makes this feature interesting.  Also interesting to note here is the wolves’ behavioral patterns. Their ability to communicate specific messages with very specific howls is an eye opener.  Most people would think with a casual glance that a howl is a howl.  But as Turner shows in his footage, that’s anything but true.  He shows that a single howl can bring together an entire group of wolves to help hunt for buffalo.  It’s proof of very intelligent behavior.  We as humans like to believe that we are the smartest beings on the planet.  But the “Delta Pack’s” ability to communicate in such fashion is yet more proof of the intelligence of other animals.  This along with Turner’s shooting style and the backdrops make Cold Warriors a presentation that any nature lover should see at least once.  

Cold Warriors is available now.  It can be ordered online now at http://www.shoppbs.org.  Audiences should note that being a nature program, some scenes may not be entirely suitable for some viewers.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks.wordpress.com.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.